Government shutdown adds to Miners’ risk


DECEMBER 28, 2018

[TRIANGLE, VA.] United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) International President Cecil E. Roberts issued the following statement today:

“The UMWA today received notice from the United States District Court of the Southern District of West Virginia that our lawsuit against the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) regarding its unlawful lifting of the Pattern of Violations (POV) status at Pocahontas Coal Company, LLC’s Affinity Mine has been put on hold for at least two weeks due to the government shutdown. This is unacceptable and puts miners at risk.

“Our lawsuit demanded that the court immediately order MSHA to put the Affinity Mine back on POV status because without the extra enforcement that comes with such status, there is no reason to believe mine management will maintain the highest safety standards. In addition, other mines that are currently on POV status may feel free to ignore safety issues if they believe MSHA will continue to flout Congress’s express mandate regarding removing a POV status.

“Obviously, if government employees at the Court are not being paid, they should not work. It is a real shame that the critical work our government employees perform day in and day out is being held hostage to issues that do not pertain to them or the issues they deal with on our behalf. There are real people whose lives are at stake here. Every day we delay raises the risk. Congress and the President need to put our government employees back to work without delay.